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    April 18, 2016

    Stratfor Evaluated the Prospects of Returning Crimea and Donbass to Ukraine

    Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
    19th April, 2016

    Analyst from the American intelligence company Stratfor Lauren Goodrich, in an interview with the Ukrainian website "Apostrophe", spoke about the prospects of returning Crimea and Donbass to Ukraine.

    Goodrich stressed that no major European power nor the United States intend to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons because they lead the dialogue with Russia on many issues in addition to Ukraine, and don't want to cross the "red line". Kiev should not count on continued diplomatic support: according to the analyst, the EU may cancel the anti-Russian sanctions without the return of Ukrainian control over Donbass. This will be enough to have at least one European country in opposition.

    "An interesting point in this story is that an extension of the sanctions needs the unanimous support of all countries in the European Union. If it does not have that, then the validity of restrictive measures will simply expire. So Russia needs only one country. Now Moscow is actively lobbying its interests in certain European countries, particularly in Italy, Hungary, and Greece," said Goodrich.

    The specialist noted that the US are not going to give up the sanctions, and have "huge pressure" on the EU, so at the moment none of the countries of the EU are not willing to oppose the sanctions. At the same time, she admits that for the next few months, everything can change. Anyway, Russia is not ready to abandon support for the DPR and LPR, and under these conditions, reintegration of Donbass into Ukraine may drag on for decades.

    As for Crimea, the Stratfor analyst believes that an expected return to Ukraine is unlikely. Goodrich called Crimea a "national issue for Russia", and stressed that the negotiations for its return "can never even begin" as they would require "the fall of the Russian regime" and the transformation of Russia into "a country that it currently is not". Answering the question of a Ukrainian journalist about the presence of the prerequisites for such a development, the analyst called it a "a matter of a very long time".

    Goodrich also touched upon the Western sanctions imposed in connection with the reunification of Crimea with Russia, and stressed that they did not have any significant impact on the Russian side.

    "The sanctions associated with Crimea are much different from the restrictive measures relating to Donbass. I think that even Russia understands that the sanctions against Crimea are unlikely to ever be cancelled. And they're willing to accept it, because the impact of these restrictive measures is very small", she concluded.

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